July 13, 2012

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation


The Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes make up the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The reservation is located near Pendleton, Oregon in northeastern Oregon at the base of the Blue Mountains in the Columbia River Plateau.

Official Tribal Name: Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation

Address:  46411 Timíne Way, Pendleton, OR 97801
Phone: 541-276-3165
Fax: 541-276-3095
Email: Contact Form

Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

The Cayuse called themselves Liksiyu .

Common Names:

– name given to them by French Canadian fur trappers, meaning “Rock People,” because of the rocky nature of parts of their homeland. 
Cayuse – also attributed to French Canadian fur trappers. Probably from Chinook Jargon from Spanish caballos, meaning  “horses,” for which the Cayuse were especially known.

Alternate names: Formerly known in modern times as the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation.

Alternate spellings / Mispellings:

Cayuse –  Cai-uses, Cayouses, Skyuse, Kaius, Kyeuuse, Kyuuse. Te-taw-ken, Guyohkohnyo

Name in other languages:

Nez Perce for Cayuse – Weyiiletpuu or Waiilatpus, meaning the People of the Rye Grass. 

Region: Plateau Region 

State(s) Today: Oregon

Traditional Territory:

The Cayuse Indians occupied territories at the heads of the Walla Walla, Umatilla, and Grande Ronde Rivers, and from the Blue Mountains to the Deschutes River in Washington and Oregon. 



Treaty of 1855 

Reservations: Umatilla Indian Reservation,  Celilo Village,
Land Area:  172,000 acres
Tribal Headquarters:  
Time Zone:  

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


Name of Governing Body:  
Number of Council members:  
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  


Language Classification: Cayuse is a language isolate.

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers: Cayuse – Extinct since the 1800s.



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Traditional Allies: Cayuse – Nez Perce and Walla Walla.

Traditional Enemies: The Cayuse were enemies of the Snake Indians and other smaller tribes in their area.

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:


The Cayuse bred horses for speed and stamina and developed a type now known as the Cayuse Pony. While used as a derogatory term in the American West by white ranchers to usually mean an inferior wild or ferrel horse or indian pony, the Cayuse pony has a deep chest for endurance, and has shorter legs and a shorter, more muscular hindquarters, which makes them especially agile in rough terrain and able to carry heavy loads easier.

The shorter stature also made them easier to mount bareback. They were also bred to better withstand harsh winters than European purebred hotblood breeds, with shaggier, longer winter coats. Their compact stature also helped them to retain body heat.

The Cayuse were known as excellent horsemen and as warriors especially known for their bravery.





Economy Today:

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs


Historical Leaders:

  • Tauitau (known as Young Chief), Head Chief, uncle and predecessor of the next Young Chief (Weatenatemany), was a well-known leader and warrior
  • Young Chief (Weatenatemany, c.18??–1859), Head Chief, nephew of Tauitau, became the new Young Chief in October 1853, leader of the more conciliatory faction of the Cayuse, killed in a skirmish with the Snake during the summer of 1859.
  • Five Crows (also known as Hezekiah), principal rival to Young Chief (Weatenatemany) for the role of Head Chief, brother of Tauitau, and leader of the hostile Cayuse.


Contemporary People of Note:

Shoni Schimmel and Jude Schimmel – basketball players respectively with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and University of Louisville women’s basketball team, who made the Women’s Final Four in April 2013

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading:

US Tribes C to D
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